The sun scorches down on a hot Sunday afternoon, permeating a humid glow that many Malaysians have no-doubt grown accustomed to since their youths. It begets fat beads of perspiration to push from under the skin, leaving many to retreat under a cool shade for shelter. And yet, 40-year-old Francis Poh Chun Tat cuts a resolute figure on a road divider, standing guard next to a cage of small puppies who are all eager to get off the streets and find new homes of their own.
Sets-up his very own adoption drive by the roadside
Often sighted in-front of the AEON Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre, Francis has been tirelessly finding new homes for stray animals that he finds around his own neighbourhood in Klang since 2014. In speaking with Wau Post, he explained that he had been driven by the relatively simple, if not humbling goal of helping animals.
“I have no agenda, I didn’t do it for fame, not for money. Not for anything. Basically, it’s just to get them [stray animals] homes.
You know, it’s just like giving them a chance to go to a home, is blessing them with something that would last for the rest of their lives.”
In his time working to rehome these animals, Francis has been able to find new owners for over 100 puppies and kittens, just by manning his very own adoption drive booth by the roadside. Initially, he would take to his social media pages to advertise his adoption drives. And despite having a reasonable following, Francis said that his adoption posts have rarely led to any responses.
“Most of the time when I post to my Facebook, there’s no one wanting all these puppies or kittens,”
Inspired by marriage proposal videos
Deciding on a different approach, Francis said that he was inspired by marriage proposal videos that saw men using sign boards to propose to their future spouses and followed suit. Only instead of someone’s hand in marriage, his sign board would ask for prospecting pet-owners to consider adopting these stray furkids.
Understandably, the process itself can be incredibly grueling. He shares that he had at one point stood for over 12-hours on the same road shoulder from day to dusk, waiting for the animals to be adopted.
Interactions with the public have varied
And interactions with the general public have also been a mixed bag, with Francis saying that he had almost gotten robbed once while manning the booth. However, he notes that there have also been kind individuals who have offered him food, water, as well as stools and umbrellas.
While he adds that it has become increasingly difficult to set-up the adoption booth over the weekends due to his own personal commitments, Francis does still make a point to try and curb the stray population by spaying and neutering any adult stray animals he comes across. Animals aside, he has also worked to help struggling small businesses during the pandemic, and has raised over RM60,000 in 2021 via his Facebook to help them keep afloat.